by Mike Floyd
Bulldog News Desk
Skagway, Alaska – “HOW ‘BOUT THEM DAWGS!” screamed the guy from across the street, and I knew right away he was the real deal.
I was wearing my Georgia shirt, walking the streets with a good buzz and feeling a little lonely. It was around 10 pm, the sun had just gone down and I was listening to the locals living it up in the saloons in celebration of the cruise passengers hitting the road once again.
“What we gonna have this year?,” he continued, and I knew this was a man that wasn’t just striking a pose. “We” instead of “they” was the dead giveaway, not to mention an accent that hardly kept his roots a secret.
I get it a lot, actually. Folks who see the Georgia shirt and decide they’ll enlighten me about southern football and our beloved Bulldogs. Most of them are delusional PAC 10 fans who, sooner or later, start wanting to tell me how Washington or Oregon is going to win the national title this year.
But this guy was on the money, with a deep South Georgia accent and a demeanor that was all Dawg. He’d already shared his two favorite Lewis Grizzard jokes with me – both of which I knew by heart but greatly enjoyed, nonetheless – when his wife cut into the conversation with a grace only reserved for the most Southern of Belles.
“We’re from Brunswick,” she said with the drawl that makes you just melt.
I told her I lived in Augusta, and she soon started talking about her son who lives there, too. I didn’t know him, but I’m not a native of the area. Hearing about it made me feel better, all the same.
Naturally, the talk soon turned to football. We discussed the coaching situation, of course, and the roots of Donnan’s demise. The whole thing probably lasted 20 minutes, and the few locals who were still around started lingering within earshot of the conversation to take in the banter typically reserved for the type of tailgate party that none of them would ever be lucky enough to attend.
We both knew our business, that much was clear. And, while the locals can all name their favorite team or player, when the Brunwick native and I ended the conversation by calling the ‘Dawgs, one of the nearby eavesdroppers was overheard saying “Man, these people ARE serious. I didn’t think this stuff really happenned.”
Oh, it happens, my friend. This is what we mean when we say you just don’t understand.
Four strangers, on a street 3,000 miles from home, calling the ‘Dawgs without a care in the world. The third guy in the crowd, silent until the end, wound up on his hands and knees, barking at anybody who came within five feet of our group. I can not say for certain that he was influenced by alcohol, but I’ve got my suspicions.
We called the Dawgs with a sense of pride and honor, knowing all along that nobody else would have any idea what in the world we were getting so fired up about. The band inside the nearest tavern had just taken a break, so our voices rang through this tiny Alaskan hamlet.
And then we heard the echo.
“SIC’EM!!!! Wuf, Wuf, Wuf, Wuf, Wuf!!!!!”, screamed a guy who had just stepped out from a bar some 50 yards up the street.
You know there’s something special about being a ‘Dawg during moments like this.
18 days, 8 hours, 58 minutes….